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May 4, 2017

UMass snaps two-game skid, soar over Hawks Saturday

Following a pair of grueling losses, the No. 16 Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team got back on track with a 16-9 rout of Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia, Pa. on Saturday.

Maxwell Sparr/Collegian

Maxwell Sparr/Collegian

Junior Art Kell and sophomore Will Manny each netted four goals for the Minutemen (6-3, 1-1 Colonial Athletic Association). The duo came out firing in the first quarter, combining for the first five goals of the contest to help create in insurmountable early lead.

“I just needed to start fast,” said Manny in a UMassAthletics.com interview. “We were able to hit the net today and we were lucky moving the ball. I had a lot of assisted goals.”

UMass coach Greg Cannella was pleased with his team’s offensive effort after a two-game stretch that saw the team struggling to put goals away.

“We need our attack, and every team needs their attack to score in games, and it’s great to see those guys do that,” Cannella said. “Again, it’s got to be consistent if we’re going to be a very good team.”

Ryan Hantverk and Anthony Biscardi each had a pair of goals and an assist on the afternoon, while four other Minutemen added goals.

The Minutemen overmatched the Hawks in the opening frame, scoring on five of their seven shots in the period and winning six of seven faceoffs.

The Maroon and White snapped its two-game skid with losses coming to Penn State and Harvard on March 19 and March 29, respectively.

“We said we needed to get back on track,” said Manny. “We had a rough couple of weeks and we lost a couple one-goal games, lost by two to Harvard, and we needed to come out strong [and] play 60 minutes of UMass lacrosse, and we did that.”

Saturday marked UMass’ greatest offensive production of the season (16 goals) as the Minutemen’s previous best was 14 at Hartford and Providence. UMass employed great ball movement, racking up 10 assists as Kell and sophomore Kyle Smith led the way with a pair apiece.

“It’s good for those guys,” said Cannella. “Hopefully they can continue to do that. We’ve been an assist team all year long percentage-wise in our goals scored. I just hope we can continue to do that…”

After Saint Joseph’s opened the second half with a Kyle Williams goal, the Minutemen strung together their second 5-0 run to put the game out of reach, at 13-4.

UMass found success on their man-up situations, capitalizing with five goals on seven opportunities. The Maroon and White also outshot the Hawks, 35-31, and won the groundball game, 34 to 27.

Overshadowed by the offense’s play was the UMass defense, which yielded just single digits on the scoreboard for the seventh time of the season. The unit was perfect clearing the ball, going 18-of-18.

Tim McCormack was solid in goal on the day with 10 saves and just seven goals before being pulled late in the fourth period in favor of freshman Reed Goodhue.

Greg Rushing was back on the field after missing the last three games with mononucleosis. The junior won six of nine faceoffs, secured six groundballs and scored a goal in his return.

Junior Anthony Toresco and freshman Joe Calvello, who helped fill the void in Rushing’s absence, won 10 of 15 and four of five faceoffs respectively.

Despite its dominance, UMass committed 17 turnovers while only causing 11.

“We got real sloppy at times during the game, which we’re [going to] have to find a resolution [for] that,” said Cannella.

UMass stays on the road with a tilt with Towson on Saturday to continue CAA play.

Stephen Sellner can be reached at ssellner@student.umass.edu.

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